Tuesday, 25 June 2013

On Sunday 30th June 2013, Don’t just Talk the Talk…Walk the SunWalk!


On Sunday 30th June 2013, Don’t just Talk the Talk…Walk the SunWalk!

We all know someone that has fallen victim to breast cancer, some conquering it and coming out stronger than before and others unfortunately not being so fortunate, losing their battle.

Walk the Walk, a grant-making breast cancer charity that was started 17 years ago, has raised over £86 million for vital breast cancer causes, with money granted for research into breast cancer and to help improve the lives of those with cancer now. They are passionate about encouraging women and men to become fitter and healthier, taking full control of their personal well being.

This Sunday, 30th June 2013, three fabulous Walk the Walk SunWalk London walking challenges will take place in Battersea Park. Also on offer is live stage music, circus sideshows, stalls, dancing, delicious food, stilt walkers, clowns; basically something for everyone in the family. There is free entry into SunWalk City all day. In 2012, SunWalk London raised more than £250,000, which is no mean feat!

Get involved and sign up now for either a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon. It promises to be a fun day out full of entertainment, fabulous outfits, courageous survivors and supporters, topped with the added bonus of getting fitter, reaching your own goal, and raising money and awareness for breast cancer.

The whole family can take part, with a Power Walking challenge for each fitness level. Walkers over the age of 13 will wear the Walk the Walk trademark of brightly decorated bras with this year being a circus theme.  And yes, that applies to men too!

Entertainment for the whole family
  • Children’s TV Stars Andy and Sid, who will be holding their own unique show!
  • Strictly Come Dancing will also be hosting three exclusive “Dance the Dance” workshops, with the chance to get up close and personal and meet the dancers afterwards. Join Anton and Erin, Darren and Lillia, and Matt and Nicole for an unforgettable experience!
  • Tickets for Andy and Sid’s shows, and for Dance the Dance are available at www.walkthewalk.org or on 01483 741430.
  • Free live music in the park from X-factor star Misha B, chart-topping band Sam and the Womp, singer/songwriter Sam Gray and the Urban Voices Collective, the singing group famous for performing at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Event information
  • Sunday 30th June 2013, Battersea Park.
  • Half marathon: minimum age on the day of the challenge is 13.
  • 10k: minimum age on the day of the challenge is 6.
  • 5K: no age restriction!
  • Walkers are asked to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship, with those aged under 13 raising what they can.
  • The entry fee for each distance is £27 (this includes one free place for a child under 13).
  • The entry fee for additional children under 13 is £15.
  • Enter at www.walkthewalk.org
  • All participants aged 13 and over will receive a bra to decorate

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Guest post: How Children with Hearing Loss Can Overcome


Great guest post from John O'Connor.  He is a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  John blogs at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com.
 
How Children with Hearing Loss Can Overcome

If you’ve never had difficulty hearing, you may take it for granted at times. Can you imagine what it would be like to never hear birds chirping outside your window, children playing in the yard or coffee brewing in the kitchen? Many people associate hearing loss with old age, but in reality, many children experience it as well. In fact, some babies are born with hearing loss. As cases of hearing loss increase throughout the United States, more and more children are affected. In fact, around eight percent of those with severe to profound hearing loss are under 18. Even more will have difficulty hearing common sounds because around 15 percent of children between six and 19 have hearing loss in either high or low frequencies.
Children with hearing loss may face some obstacles growing up. These obstacles include difficulty learning to talk or to pronounce new words as well as academic difficulty with grammar and language arts. Often these children also face ridicule from their peers.  They are often bullied for their hearing loss especially for wearing hearing aids.  It is out job as parents to make sure that these children know that just because they have hearing loss, it does not make them any different from anyone else.

Like adults who are hard of hearing, children with hearing impairment often benefit from hearing aids. The small microphone in each hearing aid amplifies sound, and then the hearing aid processes it and directs it into the wearer’s ear. Most individuals go through a period of difficulty in getting used to hearing aids and learning how to interpret the sounds they can now hear. Ultimately, however, many individuals with hearing loss find hearing aids to be very helpful.

Many hearing-impaired individuals also rely on gestures and other non-verbal forms of communication. Children with hearing loss often communicate with family and friends using sign language, a complex system of hand gestures used to express thoughts and ideas.

Despite the potential adversities of growing up with hearing loss, these children can still achieve great things. Consider major league baseball player Nick Hamilton. At age three, he was diagnosed with a rare hearing loss disorder. Although he eventually was able to undergo surgery to halt the progress of his hearing loss, he still has to rely heavily on the use of hearing aids, which he wears consistently.  When on the field he uses lip reading and hand gestures to communicate effectively with coaches and teammates. 

Tamika Catchings remembers being picked on a lot as a child because of the clunky hearing aids she wore. When things got tough, she escaped to the basketball court where no one would make fun of her. She practiced and used her natural talent to become the best. Today, she is a six-time WNBA all star and has won three Olympic gold medals.
Just because your child has hearing loss it does not make them any different from anyone else.  With proper education, love and support your child will be more than equipped to tackle the world just like every other kid out there.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Oh, the joys of being self-employed...

I had heard these rather vicious rumours that estate agent types and mortgage lender types basically shut down and become rather robotic once you tell them you are self-employed...

"Sorry, we can't help you."

"Do you have two years of accounts to show us?"

"Oooh!  I think that's going to be a bit of a problem!"

I thought that this simply couldn't be true.  I mean, in this day and age when absolutely no job is for life and dependant on your industry, you pray that your entry fob lets you in the following morning.

Well.  It's true...

I was looking to surprise my parents-in-law with an upgrade to the flat that they are currently staying in.   They are getting older and as retirement looms and my mother-in-law gets closer to finishing work, they will need a larger space as she will be at home more.  Nice of me, yes?

No!  Boo, hiss!!!  When it came to discussing rent and standing surety, I told the estate agent that I was self-employed.  It was as if the world came to a complete and utter standstill.  I could almost see him recoiling, cringing in his skin at this despicable human being!  

How dare I be self-employed!?  How dare I pay my own National Insurance and tax?  How dare I work long hours and wake up in the middle of the night thinking of ways to further my business and ultimately put  myself in a position whereby I can save money for my retirement and not have to take money from the government where it could be used for someone that really needs it (Please note...I'm not saying that every employed person that claims a government pension is out to steal money from the government in some sort of malicious way of getting back to world...)

It was in that split second that I actually felt my left eye start to twitch and think to myself...WTF?!  I was being judged because I decided to take a chance, put in the hard graft and have my own business.  I could afford to probably pay the entire rent myself but this ignorant little man decided that I simply wasn't worth it.  He would rather lose a sale, rent the property to someone who's job could be gone the next day, but because they were employed, it was a sure thing?  I honestly fail to see the logic in that.

Anyway, this is the end of my rant because really, it isn't worth getting that wound up about.  But Mr Man. One day, when you are out of a job and desperate for cash, it may be best to keep your stupid mentality away from my free-spirited self-employed self!  BOOM!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The facts of life according to a three year old

My daughter loves children that are younger than here, especially little babies.  She gives them gentle hugs and strokes their heads and arms with tender loving care.  Basically, she adores them.

I'm not even sure how we got onto the subject but we started to talk about babies and where they came from.  Now, as she is only just three years old, it's a tad too early for the real 'facts of life' talk.   However, she had somehow concocted a theory of her own.  It goes something like this...

Little One: Daddy is going to London to go and buy a baby.

Me: Oh really, and where will he get one from?

LO: The shop.

Me: (fair enough answer I thought). Okay, so what happens next?

LO: Daddy comes home and gives it to mommy and puts it in her tummy.

Me: (thinking that is slightly how babies come about, without having to go into more detail.) Yes, something like that babe.  But what happens next?  How does the baby come out?

LO: Like this! (sticking her finger in her mouth) POP! Goes the weeeeeasel!

Me: (not really having an answer, I smile and laugh.)

I think that for a three year old she pretty much has a few of the basics sorted out; baby comes from daddy, given to mommy, goes in tummy and then pops out.   Hopefully this will save me from 'the talk' for a few more years.

Ax

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Look no further than HelloCanvas


I was approached by a company to test out a canvas print, to examine the quality of what they offer; basically providing me with a product that I would be happy to recommend.  I decided to provide them with one of my favourite images of my daughter that a talented photographer friend of mine (Michelle Wiggett) had recently taken.

So, I sent my image across to the team at HelloCanvas.  The website was extremely easy to use, giving you ideas on different colour options and effects, providing the option to remove dates on images and red eyes for free as well as a number of other creative ideas for your images. Their prices are very reasonable too.

Within 3 days of placing my order my canvas arrived, which I didn't find to be an unacceptable time frame. Feeling rather like a kid at Christmas as I carefully pulled it out of the cardboard packaging, I was completely lost for words. It was beautiful. The quality of the canvas itself is of an extremely high standard and the image was completely brought to life. They definitely delivered on the high level of dedication and attention front, with perfect service and top notch quality. Nothing went wrong and it was simply, perfect!

Being 20 x 28 inches/50 x 70 cm it is large enough without being intrusive on one of my living room walls , and each and every time that I look at it I smile as I see my daughter's gorgeous face smiling back at me on this superb canvas.

The packaging was more than adequate, with the canvas bubble wrapped and in a box the same size as the item. Nothing irritates me more than getting a parcel that is minuscule in a giant size box. Waste of materials! Easy to install wall fixings are also provided with full illustrations on how to fix them.

The images that I have put into this post simply do not do this canvas or photo justice, so I'd say, use the wonderful service at HelloCanvas for yourself so that you can see what I'm waxing lyrically about.

Ax

HelloCanvas
'Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow'

Web: www.hellocanvas.co.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hellocanvas
Facebook: http://facebook.com/hellocanvasUK

Note: The Blogger was sent the canvas free of charge to review.  The opinions expressed in this post are completely truthful and not bias.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Just, calm down!

Now that my daughter is three I'm even more aware that I need to watch what I say around her.  My attitudes and opinions are absorbed by her like a sponge, so if I am going to have a strop, I'm going to need to do it in my own time.

Last week two of her little friends (sisters) were having an argument over my daughter's bike.  Both grabbed a side of the handle bars and were tugging on them for dear life in order to stake their claim to the bike for that nanosecond, right before the kerfuffle would start again.

So, in steps my daughter, standing in front of her friends with hands raised up high to the sky...

"Just, calm down!" says my incredibly mature three year old.

Never mind the fact that I was lost for words and then couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculously grown-up kiddie moment.  I think the kids were as shocked as we were with my daughter not fully knowing the impact of what she had just said.

I hope that this is a show of things to come; that she will grow up to be a kind person, who likes to jump in and solve problems, doesn't like to see people struggling or fighting who is strong yet gentle at the same time.

So far I don't think I've done too awfully as a mum, fumbling away at the best of times, but at times like these it makes you think that you may have just possibly done one thing right, and simple pleasures like that just can't be beaten.

Ax

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fabulous new JoJo Maman Bébé online outlet store


Very exciting news for fans of JoJo Maman Bébé!  They have recently launched their brand new online outlet store, where you can find fantastic savings and offers across maternity, childrens wear and products. If you love their styles, and want to save money, the Outlet cannot be missed.  The online outlet will see old season stock priced with up to 50% off.

As well as discounted fashion lines there will be limited offers on practical products.  The stock will be regularly updated with new items from previous collections. 

Some examples of the amazing discounts on offer are...

beautiful real leather pink heart baby booties reduced from £14 to £9.



the nautical stripe trousers reduced from £16 to £11.


for Mums-to-be there’s the super flattering chiffon evening dress reduced from £49 to £25.


JoJo will never become a discount brand, they understand that everyone loves a bargain and appreciate that with the ups and downs in our lovely British weather, there is often a need to buy out of season clothing, hence the addition of their lovely new online JoJo Outlet.

The website is extremely user friendly, so whilst browsing through the latest collections and adding your favourites to the online basket you can click on over to the JoJo Outlet, have a gander and any items that take your fancy can also be added to the very same order.  It couldn't be more simple.  Jojo also have two outlet stores; one in Finchley, North London and the other in Newport, Wales

Ax



Monday, 3 June 2013

Review: Chelsea Wives by Anna-Lou Weatherley

If you are looking for that perfect summer holiday read or a bit of escapism for the trappings of everyday life, look no further that Chelsea Wives, where revenge  is sweeter than champagne...

Author Anna-Lou Weatherley introduces you to the extravagant and over-indulgent lives of three of the ultimate ladies who lunch;  Imogen, the beautiful ex-model; Calvary, the glamorous, former fashion editor; and Yasmin, the feisty ex-party girl.  The distinctive trait with all three however, is that nothing is as it appears to be.

Failing marriages, domineering or simply ignorant husbands and personal tragedy unite them as they mastermind an extremely cunning yet elegant plan to disempower their husbands and gain back the lives that they lost and so passionately long to regain.

Exotic locations, glamorous parties, designer boutiques and fancy cars have nothing on this group of fiercely ambitious women who will stop at nothing to find peace, love and happiness in their lives.

Availabile on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions, Chelsea Wives is a definite for the beach and book club circuit and gets a 8 out of 10 from me.

Ax

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review: Discover and sample the delicious new Tea India premium range of teas



I have recently discovered the exciting new and rather delicious Tea India premium tea range that offers 3 authentic Chai’s and a black tea blend.  There is nothing better than a delicious, perfectly brewed cup of tea and the Tea India range offers just that; an authentic Indian tea experience with each blend masterfully created using the finest ingredients and more than 70 years tea blending experience.

The inspirational fusion of tradition with the vibrancy of modern India suit every palate and are a real treat.  A combination of unique flavours, local tastes and family history ensure that they stay true to the Indian tradition of Chai.  The teas come in 3 delicious blends; warming Masala Chai, invigorating Cardamom Chai and refreshing Vanilla Chai.

I sampled the Vanilla Chai and Black Tea varieties.  The Vanilla Chai, already a 2 star Great Taste Gold Winner, has a delightful sweet and spicy refreshing aroma, with tastes of sweet spices of cinnamon, cardamom and natural vanilla flavouring.   Tea India have definitely created the perfect balance between sweet and spice.  I had mine black as I prefer my tea without milk.  I brewed my tea for 5 minutes as I like it to be quite strong but you can tailor this process to your own taste, adding milk and sugar if you prefer and brewing for  between 3  to 5 minutes as you like.   It is ideal as a delicious evening treat or afternoon pick-me-up and to be honest, I'd probably have it with my breakfast too.

The Tea India Black Tea (a 2 star Great Taste Gold Winner) is 100 per cent black tea with a high Assam content for a robust, golden flavour and is their signature blend.  I brewed it for 5 minutes and found it a bit too strong to drink black so I added a dash of milk and a cheeky, sneaky sugar, gave it a good stir, sat back and enjoyed the rich flavour.  Next time I will brew it for 3 minutes and remove the tea bag as soon as the timer goes off and try it black.

Award-winning chef Ravinder Bhogal was chosen to work alongside the brand, creating delicious recipes to accompany the fantastic range of Chai.  Ravinder, who was famously described as the new Fanny Craddock by Gordon Ramsay, also created fabulous tea tasting notes to ensure that you get the most out of your Tea India experience, no matter what the occasion.

I baked the Spicy Black Tea Cookies.  As I removed the freshly baked cookies from the over, I was met with a warm and exotic mix of spices; a real delight for the senses.  

Spicy Black Tea Cookies

  • 2 Tea India Black tea bags (leaves only)
  • 125g butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 70g self raising flower
  • 120g oats
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (fan assisted).
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and soft brown sugar.
  3. Add the oats, flour, Tea India Black tea leaves and spices, and mix until well combined.
  4. Roll the cookie dough into a log shape approximately 5cm in diameter.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 5 minutes.
  5. To bake, remove from the fridge, unwrap and slice into 12 even sized pieces.  Place on two baking trays lined with baking paper.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool on the baking tray before serving warm.
  8. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for four days.
Recipe makes: 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooling time: 12-14 minutes

Wonderful for dunking in a cup of Tea India tea, they may be a little bit dry for some but I found the cookies to be delightfully spicy, crunchy and possessing the amazing ability to disappear in a matter of seconds.   More delicious recipes can be found on www.teaindia.co.uk or on their Facebook page.

If you would like to try a selection of these delicious Tea India teas, visit their Facebook page.  'You & I and a Cup of Chai' gives  you the opportunity to claim a free selection of the finest Tea India blends.  Take time out of your busy day for you and a colleague/friend/family member to sit down, relax and indulge in the blissful and invigorating tastes of the Tea India range.  To receive a free assortment of Tea India, click here

Better still, if you fancy a cuppa with a friend at 'Tea time' between 1 - 2pm, you will receive a whole box of one of the authentic blends of Tea India.  Fabulous!


All Tea India blends are ethically sourced based on the Ethical Trade Initiative and are available in selected Tesco stores nationwide. RRP £2.59 for Black Tea (80 bags) and RRP £2.39 for Chai blends (40 bags).

Enjoy!

Ax

Twitter: https://twitter.com/teaindiauk

Note:  The Blogger was sent both boxes of tea to sample and review.  Opinions are completely the Blogger's own, honest and not bias.



What's in a name?

I recently discovered the "Baby Names 101" infographic by Namberry.com and PishPoshBaby.  No, I am not pregnant but I do torture myself by looking at boy and girl names for my yet to be conceived second child, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

What I quite liked about the site is that as it is American, the names are slightly different from the playground names I hear here in the UK.  I happened to pick a name that was in the top 10 (and still is) so my poor daughter will be at school with a number of people with the same name as her.  I only had 2 people at my school with my name which I loved!

The infographic is full of fun facts and useful and practical tips on naming a baby.  It also gives handy advice on how best to pick a name that matches with your surname as well as a few pointers on what to avoid.

Hope you enjoy this cute infographic as much as I did!

Ax

Baby Names 101






Baby Names 101 Via Pishposhbaby.com and Nameberry.com

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Where did the last 3 years go?

My daughter turned 3 in April (how is this for slow blogging?! ).  Where has the time gone?  I know it sounds like a cliché, but it honestly feels like only yesterday that we were bringing home our baby girl from hospital.  All too quickly she has grown into a lovely little girl with a fun loving, creative, energetic and unique character.  I am one very proud All-in-One Mum!

I like to make an effort for her birthday parties and so this year I created the invites myself, giving it a personal touch.  My mom made and effort for my birthday parties and I can remember nearly each and every single one, especially the ice-cream birthday cake in the shape of a Care Bear (hot South African December birthday!) to the entertainment with the puppet show and the one at the super tube water slides in Muizenberg.

I have become a bit of a Pinterest addict and gathered most of my inspiration from there, pinning pictures of cakes, invitations, colour schemes and keepsakes that I loved.  My daughter loves Hello Kitty so this was the basis of my pink, purple and blue colour scheme.  I created the invitations and other pieces in Word and then printed and stuck them to pieces of coloured card so that they really stood out.  Basically, I saw, I pinned, I created!

I put in a self addressed and stamped envelope so that everyone was happy to post off the RSVP cards.  My daughter loved getting her replies through the post so each time the post arrived she got ridiculously excited in anticipation of opening up her own mail. 

Instead of party packs I gave books to each child, wrapped in pretty wrapping paper.  I attached a thank you note on it from Isabella to make it more personal.


I laboured over 2 days making her 3-tiered cake (Thursday for the cake and most of Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning for the decorating).  It was quicker to give birth!!!  Let's just say that the detail looked different in my head but due to unforeseen circumstances i.e. me being completely rubbish at working with fondant icing, a few layers and stripes were added to cover a few minor mistakes.  The finished product did look pretty good.  Yes, that is my slightly bias opinion.

With fingers crossed for decent weather, I ordered a princess bouncy castle and happy hoppers from A and K Events a week or two before the party.  Thankfully my decision to delay her party for a few weeks after her birthday was the right thing to do as we had beautiful weather on the day.  It was actually a warm and resembled something close to Spring.  Hoorah!

They delivered the bouncy castle and hoppers allowing plenty of time before the party started and even let my daughter (and...um, me...) have a few last jumps and slides before taking it down.  It came and went as if it was never there in the first place.  Alison and Kevin were simply lovely and come highly recommended.  Kids all happy outside and the house was left untouched.  Result!

Hmmm...now to plan for my husband's birthday.  Maybe sumo suits or roo boxing?!?

Ax




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